Technology incubation and growth of entrepreneurs
Mint profiles four firms from the 69 start-ups that were incubated at the 27 govt-run centres for information and communication technology, electronics
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These start-ups were awarded a certification of excellence by the department of electronics and information technology.
Gaming platform to assess, enhance brain skills
FIRM: Edsix Brain Lab Pvt. Ltd
ENTREPRENEURS: Saravanan Sundaramoorthy and Kalpana M.
INCUBATED AT: Rural Technology and Business Incubator, IIT Madras
YEAR OF ENROLMENT: 2013
During his career at software firm Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., Sundaramoorthy was disappointed with the quality of trainees. After leaving the company in 2008, the experiences lingered, and he decided to start out on his own. However, he found that despite his steady success in his previous job, when he started his own company, he met with many challenges.
His first venture, which was launched in 2008, on an e-learning platform was acquired by a leading education company. After some introspection, Sundaramoorthy approached the IIT Madras Incubation Cell and submitted the project proposal in October 2012. He went on to start his second company in 2013. Students and companies who do not have any collateral to apply for loans can seek collateral-free debt through the government’s Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs centres. “In exchange for some equity in the company, we got mentorship, debt, grants and a facility to work in,” he said. Edsix provides a gaming platform to assess and enhance brain skills including logic and memory. The solution comprises a software game engine model, which features various elements, animation and images that could be used to create games, various versions of a game and modify them as well. “You need to provide logic and inputs, for which we consult a developmental pediatrician and clinical psychologist”, after which the game engine throws up suitable games, explained Sundaramoorthy, who has also filed for local and international patents for the product.
He plans to officially launch his product in July for companies. Edsix already has around 17,000 students on its platform who can access its games through the Internet, he said. Sundaramoorthy also plans to launch a mobile-based application.
FIRM: SensiBol Audio Technologies Pvt. Ltd
ENTREPRENEUR: Vishweshwara Rao
INCUBATED AT: IIT Bombay
YEAR OF ENROLMENT: 2012
His engineering studies in 2004 were nothing to write home about, but the 34-year-old Rao, who was also lead singer of a rock band those days, now runs a successful music technology start-up. SensiBol Audio Technologies was incubated at IIT Bombay in 2012, and develops proprietary audio-processing technologies to analyse the audio content, files for intellectual property (IP) and then licences it to companies. The audio-processing IP includes singing evaluation, gender identification from speech, spoken word recognition, spoken language evaluation, regional language voice-command identification, voice enhancement, voice or music isolation. These technologies are available as embedded solutions across platforms including IVR (interactive voice response), mobile (Android, iOS, Windows), Web and desktop. “I wasn’t a very good student, but I loved music. As a student, I was very interested in music, and especially Indian classical music. I wanted to put my passion for music and technology together; so I went on to do music engineering from Florida,” said Rao.
After coming back to India in 2005, Rao pursued a PhD in audio technology at IIT Bombay. “Our core solution started with the system which could tell how well one sings. An algorithm tells you how well you can sing or pronounce,” explained Rao, adding that his solution can analyse the audio and fetch information out of it. “We filed for the patent in the US while I was doing my PhD in audio technology, focusing on writing software to understand sound. I submitted my business plan to the IIT Bombay Incubation Cell, which then helped me build the company.” Since last year, his firm has even begun looking at applications in language learning, education, health, surveillance, defence, environment and the Internet of Things. He is also exploring the use of his technology to sense early detection of Alzheimer’s through voice analysis. SensiBol has received funding from the Indian Angel Network.
FIRM: Capillary Technologies Pvt. Ltd
ENTREPRENEUR: Aneesh Reddy, Krishna Mehra and Ajay Modani
INCUBATED AT: Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park, IIT Kharagpur
YEAR OF ENROLMENT: 2008
IIT Kharagpur batchmates Reddy and Mehra had no start-up dreams when they left college.
Reddy, who quit his management trainee job at the ITC Group in 2008, started thinking of an idea “to provide customer loyalty and retention solutions on mobile for retail sector”. In 2008, Reddy and Mehra returned to IIT Kharagpur to look for incubation support, and launched Capillary Technologies in August 2008. A month later, Modani joined the team as the third co-founder.
“Using the mobile number as a unique identity, we created a platform, InTouch, that would let retailers use their mobile to send reward points or the loyalty points to a customer’s mobile number which could be redeemed later,” said Reddy.
The platform has now scaled up to provide customer relationship management and in-depth analysis of customers’ behaviour.
According to Reddy, his company has about 100 million users through 200 retailers in 20 countries, and has a revenue of close to Rs.100 crore a year.
FIRM: Mymo Wireless Technologies Pvt. Ltd
ENTREPRENEUR: Sondur Lakshmipathi
INCUBATED AT: Society for Innovation and Development, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
YEAR OF ENROLMENT: 2009
Mymo Wireless Technologies is one of the few Indian start-ups to focus on the yet-to-be-proven fourth-generation long-term evolution (4G LTE) technology that will deliver high-speed data services. It has filed for 10 patents in the 4G LTE domain. The firm was incubated in 2009 at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru, with the aim to develop LTE products and intellectual property rights for technologies such as 4G LTE, machine-to-machine and the Internet of Things—all technologies that work on the concept that devices connected on a network will deliver more value for businesses.
Looking for “funding from seed capital or venture capital agencies” Lakshmipathi went to IISc, and got a loan of Rs.12.5 lakh from Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs, which his company later repaid. Mymo Wireless’s customers include networking companies and device manufacturers.